There are few things that put me to sleep quicker than being tucked into a tiny compartment in a moving vehicle. After hearing stories about the two-level night buses that blast Korean pop music videos until the wee hours, we were relieved to snuggle into our private berth on the night train to Chiang Mai. Eight hours later, I woke up to the sun pearing through the curtains and the wonderful sound of someone offering me coffee (I was born with the gift of sleep).
Just stepping off the train I already felt a sense of serenity and ease that was lacking in Bangkok. Every day began with a heaping bowl of coconut yogurt, mango, passion fruit, banana, avocado, papaya, pineapple, and dragon fruit, and every night ended with a stroll through the market and a late night dip in the pool.
We took mud baths with elephants in the mountains and I visited a beautiful organic farm just outside the city for a cooking class. The class was by far the best thing I’ve done on the trip so far. I loved learning about the flavors of Thai cuisine and trying all of the dishes I’d seen on menus but wasn’t sure about their ingredients.
We first stopped at a local market to learn the basics of shopping and prep for a Thai meal. Then we walked through the beautiful 10 acre farm dotted with hammocks and wind chimes harvesting basil, mint, ginger, lemongrass, kafir lime, and peppers for our dishes. With our own woks, cutting boards, and perfectly sharp knives in hand, we proceeded to make pad thai, papaya salad, vegetable spring rolls, tom yum soup, red curry paste, kao soi (a Northern Thai specialty), and the ever-wonderful mango sticky rice. We even dyed the rice blue with pressed butterfly pea flowers, because, why not. It was absolute heaven. Come over sometime and I’ll cook for you.